Jealousy is a storm of sakura blossoms.

Guided by invisible hands, the cherry petals swirl in an unnatural current around the slim dark-haired youth, leaving him untouched, the eye of the hurricane. Perhaps, Omi thinks, watching from his mat on the balcony, he should be grateful for this rare light-hearted use of Nagi's powers. But judging from the fact Nagi is holding a photo, a frozen impression of innocently laughing eyes and tumbling teal-coloured hair, perhaps there is no light-heartedness involved after all.

Yes, jealousy is palest pink in colour, not green as Westerners believe.

"What are you thinking of?" Omi calls into the garden, though he can hazard a good guess.

Nagi doesn't answer, merely glances his way briefly, before returning to his intent study of the slip of paper in his hand. As usual, his expression and body language frustrates any attempt of Omi's to read them. Not for the first time, he finds himself wishing for Schuldig's gift - and isn't that a sickening thought?

But then it's funny how the 'good guys' were the ones who imploded, whose little family unit disintegrated like a dandelion fingered apart, seeds carried away by the winds to fall upon distant stony soils. Yohji, obliviously happy and happily oblivious, hiding from himself. Aya, lost half a world away and still running from himself. Ken, refusing all help and contact, intent on punishing himself. And what would the others say of him? Probably, "Omi, caught in the trap of the past, still sacrificing himself."

Omi sighs, hugging his arms tightly around his knees, chilled despite the warm breeze.

Because whilst it's true, it isn't the whole story. Perhaps. But what has the past left him with? His family's legacy; the burdens of duty and leadership of Kritiker. And personally? An unknown stalemate with one of his former deadly enemies. Too uncertain of Nagi's intentions and feelings to move forward, too desperate for even the slightest bit of human contact to let go.

Nagi holds a stillness within himself Omi finds restful. He doesn't disregard the telekineticís usually submerged anger and passion - it erupts in savage words or bitter looks occasionally and most Kritiker employees treat Nagi as cautiously as they would an unexploded bomb - but years of struggling to survive and to control a truly remarkable power have sculpted a personality of steel and water, inflexible and yielding at the same time. Nagi doesn't expect Omi to be cheerful and genki like Ken and Yohji did, doesnít initiate a rush of nervous babble with his silences the way Aya had. A raised eyebrow is all it takes to stop Omi in his tracks when he falls into old patterns of behaviour nowadays. Nagi seems to accept Omi without any expectations of how he should be.

But what Nagi receives from this peculiarly undefined relationship he doesn't know. Perhaps the telekinetic misses living with a team, misses the constant interaction of family, and the protection of Esset. Though from what Omi has seen, the latter was more a prison than a shelter. And Crawford and Schuldig would have willingly taken Nagi with them. Currently busy building their own little business empire in America, the pair are an occasional, if still irritating, presence in Omi and Nagi's lives. Even Farfarello, now Jei - rational, peaceable 'blissfully-married-with-a-child-on-the-way' Jei, would have taken Nagi with him to Ireland if he'd asked. Crawford, Schuldig, Jei. All happy and well and as sane as one could expect people like that to be. Yohji, Aya, Ken... petals on the wind. Perhaps it was true no good deed goes unpunished.

"What are you thinking of?"

The words startle Omi, and he realises he's trying to bore a hole in the ancient floorboard with his eyes. He looks up to catch Nagi staring back at him. There is a strange intentness in the dark blue gaze that is unfamiliar and exciting, and he is surprised into unguarded truthfulness.

"The past. The present."

"Hnh." replies Nagi, then holds the photo up and releases it.

Omi watches in shock as paper and sakura blossoms twist upward and outward, borne through the traditional garden, past the koi pond, over the fruit trees and away, out of sight. Nagi walks through the remnants of the petal shower and kneels before him. Omi can find no words, no breath, as Nagi reaches out, tilts Omi's chin gently up and quietly recites,

What is the use
of cherishing life in Spring?
Its flowers
only shackle
us to this world.

Nagi smiles; a slow, knowledgeable lighting that holds nothing of 'perhaps' in it, then leans forward to kiss him. And in the press of warm lips on his, summer arrives.

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